For a few weeks now, we’ve had trouble with our 3-year-old having ‘bad dreams’. Sometimes even before she’s got to sleep, she’ll come out and say she’s had a bad dream (which I found a little hard to believe and I’ve put it down as excuses, excuses, anything to get out of bed and have some attention)
We’ve put up a dream catcher and explained that it catches the bad dreams and only good ones get through.
We’ve talked about if she has a bad dream and wakes up, she needs to say ‘whew, that’s over’ and turn over and think about nice things to dream about and go back to sleep.
We’ve given her cuddles in the middle of the night, 2am, 3am, 4am …
We’ve had varying success with all of these.
Tonight, the familiar “but Mum, what about bad dreams?!” as I tucked her in. I started in with the same old line and asked her what good things she could dream about but I could tell it just wasn’t sinking in. So I had one of those mummy moments that you thank your lucky stars for later on …
I said “Leah, what’s a bad dream?”
A quiet, scared little whimper “I don’t kn-o-o-o-w” from my baby.
No wonder she’s scared – who knows what a bad dream is? It’s got ‘bad’ in it, so it can’t be good. People on TV and in books have them and cry and have cuddles. Ruby talks about them. They must be scary things. And they apparently come in the night when it’s dark. I’d be scared too, knowing there are these things out there that come at night and make people cry. Bad dreams – urgh!!
I’m crossing my fingers that now I’ve explained they’re stories her brain makes up while she sleeps and that she can tell her brain what kind of story she’d like to see … perhaps we’ll all get a little more sleep and spend a little less time putting her to bed … again … and again … and again. However, I do realize she’s three – so I’m not putting too much faith in that being the end of the bedtime dramas, but you never know!
But it does go to show – never assume your three-year-old knows what they’re talking about … !